Turkish opposition has a shot at defeating Erdoğan – Analysis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expects to assume extraordinary new executive authority after June 24 elections, but there are growing signs the political ingenuity that has long allowed him to determine the course of Turkish politics could be waning, said analysts Kemal Kirişçi and Kutay Onaylı in an article for the Brookings Institution.

Many polls suggest there is a high likelihood the presidential election will be decided in a run-off, and that Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) will fail to retain its majority in parliament, which would mean that the opposition could have a greater say in policymaking.

There is an array of problems facing Turkey, such as inflation and unemployment both over 10 percent and the falling value of the Turkish lira, which is down more than 20 percent against the U.S. dollar this year.

The president is also facing the most diverse and rigorous pool of opposition candidates since he first came to power in 2003. Pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been jailed since late 2016 with multiple charges but still no indictment (let alone a verdict), is forced to run from behind bars.

“A new electoral alliance hoping to unseat Erdoğan includes not only the centre-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the new right-right İyi (Good) Party, but also an Islamist faction, represented by the small yet influential Felicity Party - ironically, Erdoğan’s own political home during his rise to political stardom in the 1990s,” the article said.

However, such a widened political battleground was exactly what Turkey’s strongman had hoped to avoid in calling for snap elections.

The article said the creators of last year’s constitutional amendment thought the AKP was invincible at the polls, but an opposition parliament under an Erdoğan presidency is a real likelihood. The new presidential system makes little provision for such cohabitation, and an aggressive opposition could effectively cripple much of Erdoğan’s usually single-handed policymaking.


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